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Michael Hess has released a new photo series called Go Lightly: a collection of images of women on stairs and escalators.

With this new series, Michael aims to elevate the everyday situation of women walking up and down stairs. “There’s a certain beauty in this moment when the focus is only on taking one step after another, or drifting off as the escalator takes you somewhere.”

“Visually, stairs have always been an interesting place for me,” explains Michael. “There’s this spatial quality to them which creates beautiful canvases of straight lines. And as they’re also a walkway, you get to capture a stream of people transitioning through this nicely arranged composition.”

For this body of work he drew from one of his inspirations, Russian photographer Alexander Rodchenko. “Some of Rodchenko’s pictures are very minimal,” Michael says. “The Stairs, for example, is just a woman with a baby. Nothing more. The whole environmental context is stripped out, it could be anywhere. Just the essence of a mother. That’s what I love about it – this simplicity of a moment to herself.”

Starting with this project in Rodchenko’s hometown Moscow, he also played with the idea of using elements of Russian avant-garde posters. “By using garish, fake colours, flattening perspectives and eliminating certain elements, I wanted to create the effect of a photomontage more than a photograph. To deconstruct reality in a way.”

Go Lightly is the result: a striking yet subtle portrayal of that short moment between up and down.

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